Turning the day-to-day grind into our own personal skill
With millions practicing social distancing for a common cause, the flattening of the curve of this new pandemic of COVID-19, spending hours and days, maybe weeks in a specific place alone or with specific people is now common occurence.
While striving to be better every single day in this new, hopefully temporary, setting, could we gain useful information and tips for this setting through the dozens of books, experiments and studies conducted by scientists of Neurobiology and Behavioural Analysis?
The following tips are a product of psycho-physiology and neuro-biology research, directly related with social distancing (Neuroscience-News.com, California Institute of Technology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, US National Library of Medicine), simplified and easily comprehensible, so that they can be applicable to anyone. Our goal is to turn the feeling of decay in our day-to-day living to some real life skills, which will teach us how to cope with the most demanding occasions, the ones demanding an abrupt change in our social nature.
- Stay busy based on a schedule
Whether alone or with your families, spouces or roommates, we can have a daily or weekly goals programm, about what we are going to complete during the week. For example, you can design a schedule for your children, depending on what you want them to complete in addition to their schoolwork, and give it a specific time frame.
You can also try to break the day up using transitions, like working or talking a walk. It is very easy to fall into a slumber doing the same thing all day, for example working or watching movies all day, cooking etc, with the day ending before we know it. But we can break these activities up, adding a walk, no matter how short, some time for our personal care, studying or gaming (or whatever one prefers). At this stage we aim to keep ourselves active, awake and aware providing a specific frame for action, which is exactly what it is currently missing, defining when something starts and when it ends, what its process is and what is something else.
2. Don’t dwell on the Negative
Yes it is a crisis. We caused it, it is going to go away. There is no reason to constantly feel bad about what is happening and not move forward using what we have at hand. Have you ever though that you may be endangering your ability to do other things, much more important to you? Positivity provides food for thought and thought is important for the mind’s wellbeing.
It is important to understand the importance of clarity and the managing or our frame of mind. Do not forget that people who are facing the most important danger of this physical and mental isolation due to COVID-19, are exactly those that face this danger anyway. Specifically and among others, the elderly, people of lower income, people belonging to the LGBTQI community, victims of domestic violence, according to the honorable Thoms Cudjoe, Geriatrics MD. currently researching the crossover of social relationships and growing old in John Hopkins University.
We should try to keep our mental state and our thought process’ well being and help these groups in any way we can. This is where we stop worrying day and night and our life goes on with vigor!
3. Put your ambitions to the front
Managing your ambitions, dreams and expectations now is very important. We never stop having ambitions. So try to spend one hour a week pondering over things that did not go as planned and face the challenges coming to you next week. There will always be dissapointment an fear, but they do not need to be our enemy. We can create a safe space for these feelings, where they can be translated into future plans and creations.
4. Good Humor is as important as breakfast!
Consider yourself like an astronaut in the International Space Station. The Space Station is both his work place and home. If an astronaut can find ways to work, live and have fun in a limited space, so can we.
Take time for yourself, do anything different than what you did just moments ago, keep contact with your loved ones via teleconference, smile, laugh and feel happy. Getting some laughs during the day does not decrease our solidarity to the international and our national communities.
5. Work out!
There is no rule agains using our mind, hands and feet, working out and getting stronger. You may not like it, but it must happen. You just need to find what works for you. Do you like dancing to music? Do you prefer a team workout with friends or colleagues through video-chat? Do you like running or walking around the house or a park? Whatever it is, don’t waste the time!
Hear rate is a good indicator about biological and perceived stress. Working out is extremely important, especially with all this underlying stress due to our current condition, keeping us awake like bats. There are routines that focus on the production of melatonin, which help you sleep better. Working out can provide a physical and mental release and support!
6. Expect some Conflict, it is not a bad thing!
When people begin feeling there is no end to this, their patience is being tested. We will need to find motives to keep behaving properly to those we love and preserve our state of mind.
After a period of constant friction, it makes sense that you may be irrationaly agitated with some people you are quarantined with. It is a fact that you may need to isolate yourselves even further, away from them and this may further deplete your already depleted good humor. It is therefore very important to keep your regular communication with these people, your friends, your family, even if you do not feel like it any more.
People always start on their best behavior, but after some time of friction start degrading to their worst. When conflicts arise, something completely natural, we can refocus our real intentions and form a proper behavior, which will make our specific needs at the time clear. These needs could be as simple as a hug.
It is well known that our communities have had to cope with a physical and mental pain with no preparation whatsoever. We have to learn to create the mental model that fits us and adapt, gradually, to the aggresive changes. We can mentally prepare ourselves for outlasting this crisis taking into account the longest possible timetable, only to be pleasantly surprised when things get better sooner.
7. Remind yourselves of the Big Picture
When we are working with others trying to find solutions instead of fighting, there are always spectacular results. Practically, prioritizing our self-care or doing things that set us up for success on a mission, like working out, sleeping properly, eating properly, can help ourselves and our society as well.
Feeling part of a group instead of a single unit, part of a unified team (family, friends, spouce, roommates), as well as colleagues to the community members, both in our country and the international community, offers a completely different feeling. Little thoughts, little showings of love and care can change us completely and give us life skills!
Roussidi Konstantina, BSc, MA, International Science